Wednesday, October 3, 2018
The SOG Field Knife: An Excellent Cheap Blade
SOG has produced many fine knives including several now made in the USA again. I have a few and enjoy the heck out of them, but my favorite SOG ride retails for over $200. But for one-eighth that amount, SOG has an excellent basic knife that has a fine handle, an excellent blade, and a pretty good sheath. Normally I shy away from cheap blades, but this time I’ll make an exception.
A knife made in China is not automatically a bad thing. Patriotism aside, the negative issues most common with overseas production is poor quality control, substandard materials, and in the particular case of knives, inappropriate steel tempering even if the steel choice could be considered plenty good. However, SOG has a rich history of offering China-made blades that don’t suck. But many of their Chinese knives don’t rock either.
For some reason the Swedish-made Mora Knife is an acceptable non-USA made blade. German blades are exceptional as often are English blades. And Finish blades are tops even when they are made in Japan. And Japanese blades are truly some of the world’s best.
But China? Let’s just take that one knife at a time. The SOG Field Knife retails for a whopping $30 with a street price of under $25. That’s about five bucks more than a MORA. Or about a hundred and fifty dollars less than what usually catches my attention. At the minimum.
The SOG Field Knife checks in at a paltry 3.8 ounces or well within an acceptable weight of an EDC folding knife. However the blade is acceptably thick at 0.13 inches, and with an overall blade length of four inches its plenty of knife general outdoor tasks including those for bushcraft, tactical applications, hunting, and short-term survival needs.
The handle of the SOG Field Knife is a thermoplastic rubber that works well, but under hard use will likely not last a lifetime. Even a dog's lifetime. But that’s not the point of this knife. The grippy rubber handle has an index finger notch and a contained finger area ending just before the tang meaning the blade metal extends all the way through the handle and out the other side. A reasonable finger guard is molded into the grip and serves its purpose well. The protruding metal is solidly jimped and can be counted on to transfer 100% pounding force to the very tip of the blade on the southernmost blade end.
The sheath is a hard plastic form-fitting blade cover that is mostly no-nonsense. It holds on to the SOG Field Knife through a friction grip on the knife handle. Works now, but I doubt I will trust it in a year or two. A cut-out in the sheath creates a small window to access to the blade for shielded cutting of cordage.
The overall length of the SOG Field Knife is about eight and a half inches. That’s enough for most uses, and is a highly respectable size for this price point. The blade steel is fairly unexciting at a 7CR17MoV, or in other words, a room temperature stainless with acceptable knife properties. 7CR17Mov is a step above 440 Stainless which is the go-to steel for many budget knife makers. The SOG Field Knife seemed to hold its edge well and honed right up on a ceramic stone.
With its hollow grind and clip point, many good things can happen. Add to that the choil encouraging placement of a finger forward of the handle proper, and a jimped thumb landing on the spine, again forward of the handle, gives the SOG Field Knife some fine motor skills.
For general survival and bushcraft tasks, the SOG Field Knife scores high enough minimize concerns. Give it extra points of the low price, and the SOG Field Knife is a winner worthy of budget-conscious attention. And here’s were my rubber words meet the road. I am a user of the SOG Pillar since its creation. The SOG Pillar is an American-made CPMS35VN super-steel knife that weighs twice as much, an inch-and-a-half longer, and much nastier. But at arm’s reach, the Field Knife looks quite similar to the Pillar but with a street price at least six times lower.
While I don’t endorse the SOG Field Knife as my first choice, second choice or even tenth choice in a true SHTF event, it is still an excellent choice when price is a serious consideration. Or you just want anther knife.